Here’s Why You Need a DUI Lawyer
If you’re one of more than one million drivers arrested for DUI each year, the consequences of these charges can be a frightening prospect.
You might be wondering what a conviction will mean for your future. There are many instances where a DUI lawyer can help you fight these charges.
If you find yourself faced with any of the following situations, call an attorney for help.
10 Situations Where You Need to Call a DUI Lawyer
Facing DUI charges alone can be stressful, but a DUI lawyer may be able to help. They can seek reduced charges or fight to have your charges dropped altogether.
Here’s when it’s time to call a lawyer.
You’re Not Sure Why You Were Pulled Over
Before police can make an arrest, they must establish probable cause. They need to have a reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence.
If you were stopped randomly, a DUI lawyer can argue that police lacked probable cause. If a judge agrees, any evidence they collected during your arrest has to be thrown out.
That could include field sobriety test results, breathalyzer results, and any other information you provided at the time.
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You Have Questions About Your Field Testing or Chemical Testing
Police officers have to follow certain procedures when they collect evidence during your arrest.
If they don’t conduct field sobriety testing correctly, a lawyer can have that evidence thrown out.
The same goes for chemical testing. What if technicians don’t follow procedure when they calculate your BAC level or their equipment isn’t calibrated correctly?
Your lawyer won’t allow that evidence to play a role in your case.
You Need Access to Your Car
After a DUI, you might automatically lose your driver’s license. An attorney may be able to help.
Many states allow for restricted licenses for people charged with a DUI. If you need to be able to drive to work, your lawyer can help you apply.
You may have to agree to certain terms, such as installing an ignition interlock device in your car, but you will be able to drive legally.
You’re a First-Time Offender
If this is your first arrest for a DUI and you have a clean criminal record, you may be able to avoid many of the consequences of a conviction. Many states offer “diversion programs” to help rehabilitate DUI offenders.
Under these programs, you agree to undergo an alcohol or drug rehab treatment instead of facing prosecution. You’ll have to pay certain fees and adhere to any other stipulations from the district attorney.
In return, they may reduce your charges or wipe your criminal record clean.
There is one catch: You have to apply to a diversion program, and the district attorney may not accept your application. A lawyer can help make the case that you are a good candidate.
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You Have Professional Licensure to Maintain
A DUI conviction can threaten anyone’s career prospects. If you’re convicted, it will appear on your permanent record. Anyone who runs a background check on you, including potential employers, will see your conviction.
Certain professionals have more to lose than other. If you work in a career that requires professional licensure, you could face professional discipline or lose your certification altogether.
That could spell disaster for:
- Real estate agents
- Insurance brokers
Your best course of action is to seek help from a DUI lawyer. An attorney may be able to get the charges against you dropped so they don’t hurt your career.
You’re Worried About Costs
Fighting drunk driving charges is not a cheap undertaking.
In fact, a first-time offense can cost more than $10,000 in fines and fees. That number climbs higher if you had a high BAC or prior offenses.
If you can’t afford to pay these costs, hire a lawyer. They can fight to have your charges reduced or thrown out entirely, saving you from the expense of a conviction.
You’re Offered a Plea Deal
Prosecutors sometimes offer plea deals after an arrest. In exchange for a guilty plea, they may offer you:
- Reduced fines
- Probation instead of jail
- Quicker reinstatement of your driving privileges
Do not to accept a plea deal without first talking to a lawyer. Prosecutors sometimes offer a deal because they don’t have a strong case against you. An attorney may be able to use that to have your charges dropped entirely.
If you plead guilty, even to reduced charges, your conviction will appear on your permanent record.
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There Were Additional Circumstances During Your Arrest
There are some situations where prosecutors will seek even harsher penalties.
You could be facing higher fines or jail time if you:
- Drove with an open container of alcohol
- Had a minor in the car
- Got into a car accident, especially if someone was injured or died as a result
A lawyer can pursue a fair plea deal to protect you from life-changing charges. Their help could mean the difference between an extended probation and years of jail time.
You’re Facing a Trial
If your case is headed for trial, don’t try to handle it on your own. You need a lawyer.
Not only can an attorney find weak points in the prosecutor’s case, they can make sure your right to a fair trial is protected.
They can also navigate the complicated legal process. That includes filing paperwork on time, collecting evidence, and engaging in discovery. If new evidence comes up in your favor, a lawyer can fight for a dismissal of your charges.
You Want to Know More About Your Rights
If you have any curiosity about whether a lawyer can help, call one.
Many attorneys offer free initial consultations. That means you get the opportunity to share your story with a legal expert before you agree to work with them.
That’s the best way to find out how to fight your DUI charges.
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